How To Create an Inexpensive Website in Hours
Does your business need a website in 2015? After all, social media websites offer businesses a quick and easy online presence for communicating their message. Isn’t it enough to be listed on business directories and Yelp?
It’s really pretty simple; YES, you need a website. But not just because I create them. If your goal is to grow a business and and reach more people, you need to have a foundation for establishing trust, communicating value, and developing your brand. You need to have a centralized destination for all your other online marketing efforts.
However, you don’t need to hire a web design agency to get started with a website. If you have time and a little elbow grease, you can create a great* website yourself. If you have only a few hours, you can still create a good looking online business card where you can funnel strangers on their journey to becoming your customers.
Get Started at WordPress.com
WordPress is an open source Content Management System (CMS) that powers a large percentage of the web. It has gained popularity in large part because it is simple to setup and deploy, and it maintains backwards compatibility.
It has a huge repository of Plugins that allow you to extend its capabilities, and you can use Themes to quickly change the look and feel of your site.
WordPress.com is essentially a large multisite installation. Without getting too technical, it allows you to have an awesome website for free…with some limitations on functionality, as well as the occasional advertisement shown on your site.
There are options for installing premium themes and designs, but you can get by without in many cases.
Step 1: Choose your website name
Your site will be a subdomain of wordpress.com, but you can add your own domain later…for a small fee.
Step 2: Setup your account
This is simply your email, a username you create, and your password. Please don’t use password123.
Step 3: Optional: Choose a custom domain
Using a custom domain is recommended, especially if you are creating a business website. Customers are expecting a business to have their own domain, and it looks unprofessional otherwise.
You can get them cheaper on other registrars, however, such as name.com. There are lots more top level domains (TLDs) available now as well, such as .rocks, .ninja, .properties, so if the .com you want is not available, you can still find a snappy domain name.
Step 4: Must not be important
I don’t have a screenshot of this step, so it must be a pretty lame step. You’ll figure it out, I believe in you.
Step 5: Choose Your Plan
You can stick with the free plan, or bump yourself up to one of the paid plans. If you are a business, I recommend using a paid plan, after all, you want to look like a business.
Customize Your Website
Now that you’ve created your site on WordPress, you can begin the fun part of building your content and customizing your site. The tendency is to begin with the look and feel, and trying to make everything look nice. STOP!
You should start with a clear understanding of the message you want to relay to your visitor. If you don’t understand the goal of the website, then you cannot define the content. And if you don’t have the content of your website, then you really cannot create an effective design.
Goals > Content > Design
The key to creating an effective website is for you to have a clear understanding of what you want your visitors to do. Should they fill out a contact form? Should they click on an Ad and generate revenue? Should they buy a product from your website? Should they subscribe to your blog?
You can have several goals, but keep in mind that every page a visitor goes to should be oriented around those goals. Make it clear what the visitor should do on that page.
You now have a website to centralize your business marketing message. Continue to improve your website by analyzing how visitors interact with your site. Over time you will have a website that converts visitors into customers and delights those customers. To get a much more in-depth look at how to design your website, checkout our 25 Must Haves below.
* Great is being used liberally.